Her seat is empty but her spirit lives on at Vernon council and in the city she adored.
Colleagues paid tribute to Coun. Dalvir Nahal at their first meeting Tuesday, Sept. 7, since the two-term councillor died Sunday, Sept. 5, at age 45 after a 10-year battle with cancer.
Her desk was covered in floral bouquets and after several moments of silence, each councillor had a chance to share words about Nahal with her family in the gallery.
“On behalf of the city, we send our respect and condolences to Dalvir’s family, friends and loved ones,” said Mayor Victor Cumming, who presented Nahal’s mother with a floral bouquet.
Coun. Brian Quiring sat to Nahal’s right during meetings.
“We became very good friends,” said Quiring. “I first met her at a Rotary event where she spoke as a cancer survivor. Dalvir never lost hope. Her dedication to this community was amazing. She kept going. She’s done so much for the community. Her spirit, her smile, we’ll never forget her.”
Coun. Kelly Fehr knew Nahal for a number of years before joining her on council in 2018.
“She spoke so highly of her family and she loved her father so much,” said Fehr. “She had an amazing commitment to Vernon. She tried to make things easier for everybody. Her never-give-up attitude was inspiring.”
Coun. Kari Gares spoke of her longtime friend’s dedication to the city.
“She got her energy from stepping into these chambers,” said Gares, who was elected to council with Nahal in 2018. “This was her passion. She will leave a big hole in my heart and there have been thousands of comments on social media from people who will miss her. She loved everybody on the same footing. She will be missed.”
Two words Coun. Scott Anderson used to describe Nahal are strength and optimism.
“She maintained her optimism until the very end,” he said. “She found her voice (on council) and was a leader on council. She had every reason to be proud of her accomplishments and you have every reason to be proud of her.”
Coun. Akbal Mund, who took a deep breath before starting his tribute, first met Nahal at a Run For The Cure fundraiser.
“We had a nice long conversation about what she wanted to do in the community,” said Mund. “She was compassionate, she cared about every non-profit organization…She was a visionary and she proved to others what could be done. She always cared and she will be missed.”
Nahal’s brother Ranvir told council a tongue-in-cheek story about how his sister was always talking politics to him and that, frankly, he didn’t “give a s—t.”
“To everyone in here, she was a councillor. To me she was a little girl,” said Ranvir. “I was fortunate to be with her for her last five-to-six days and all week she talked about council. I ask of you that whatever foundation Dalvir built that you continue to build on it. Continue her fight.”
Her mom spoke through tears as she thanked council.
“I miss her. She was my beautiful daughter,” she said. “Thank you for your kind words.”
Nahal graduated from Seaton Secondary. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through community events such as Bollywood Bang. She was first elected to council in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.